If I Can Do It, So Can You
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If I Can Do It, So Can You

How I beat Gastroparesis and OCD to become the first in both of my families to graduate college.

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If I Can Do It, So Can You
Tyler Simpson

Twenty-five years ago I was a six-month-old child, the son of a 15-year-old mother; confused and struggling with life and unsure of where it would take her or what she should do. She decided to put me up for adoption, a decision which would, in hindsight, be the best possible.

You see my mother was poor and had drug problems; my father was over 18 and in a bit of legal trouble for the whole predicament. I have never met either of my birth parents, but I know who there are and where they are, and I am thankful to them for making the decisions they did. They do not know who I am or where I am.

I was adopted by a couple who had tried to have a child but couldn't, and they have loved and cared for me ever since. I have always been treated the same as any member of my large and kind adoptive family, and for that, I am thankful as well.

Neither my birth or adoptive parents attended college, nor their parents before them.

In high school, I was diagnosed with Gastroparesis, a disease that stops my stomach from emptying as quickly as it should. It was so bad I couldn't enter the cafeteria without getting sick; so I would sleep during lunch instead. I was afraid of going out, because I got sick so much, something that still affects me today, even though I have better control over the disease through better eating and exercise.

I didn't graduate on time because the disease caused me to miss so much school. I finished my high school degree online and graduated with a 2.0 GPA.

A few months later I decided it was time for me to enroll in college. I chose the game design program at Full Sail because I liked the idea of using choice in storytelling to create more emotional stories. A year or so into the program, I got really sick.

Over the next year, I was in the hospital, therapy, and didn't leave my house aside from that. I was diagnosed with OCD and at the time was having four to five panic attacks a day.

I didn't tell the school about what had happened, and I tried to continue with my course work; a terrible idea. I failed classes and was forced to take a year-long break.

I spent that time finding balance in my life and learning to control my OCD. I still struggle with it every single day, but I have learned to stave off the occasional panic attack when they come. I still find it hard to leave the house most of the time.

When it came time to re-enter school, I sent in my petition for re-enrollment and was told that it would be a good time to change my degree program, if I so wished.

In the time between when I started school and when I came back from my year-long break, Full Sail had started a new degree program, Media Communications. I felt like this program better fit what I wanted to do, and so I applied and was accepted into the new program.

In that program, I learned everything I needed to know about storytelling, communication, marketing, project management, PR, branding, and much more. I learned a lot about myself as well.

My journey has been a daily struggle, but through it all I have pushed forward and never given up, and I am very proud of that. As of today, I am the first to graduate college in both my birth and adoptive family.

I am writing this to tell you that no matter where you come from, or what happens to you, you can pursue your dreams. You will fail many times in life, but success means not letting our failures define us.

I am now a graduate of Full Sail University's Media Communications Bachelor or Science degree program with a 3.3 GPA. I can not know what life has in store for me next, but my plan is to pursue my Master of Journalism degree.

If I can do it, so can you.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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